Since March, the world of sports has pretty much come to a halt. I have spent much of my sports time being extremely ticked off at Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred, the players and the owners.
I haven’t felt this way toward the NBA or the NFL because it appears they are doing the best they can under the circumstances as they try to get their business to return as soon as possible.
Prior to March, I hadn’t thought anything outside of the coronavirus would halt the normal flow of the return of baseball. To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t aware that a contract was missing between the two parties involved. I thought the only thing missing was an agreement from the commissioner and the approval of our top doctors and government officials.
Now that my summer game appears ready to return – unless the next phase of COVID-19 won’t allow it to happen – it’s time to re-direct my thoughts to the game and where the Cleveland Indians fit into the equation. I hate the 60-game schedule, no fans allowed at the games, the new role of putting a runner on second base at the beginning of each extra inning and forcing pitchers to face at least three batters in an inning before a relief pitcher can enter.
What about the chances for the Tribe in a truncated season, with one of the best starting pitching staffs in the game? Let’s start with the premise that every team will have the same problems. Any team can have injuries, players testing positive, and some teams or players may just get caught in slow or fast starts, which is not unusual in any given season.
But even without Corey Kluber and possibly Carlos Carrasco, the Indians have one of the top starting pitching staffs. The Indians are loaded on offense and defensively in the infield. Nobody wants to face switch-hitters, Francisco Lindor, Jose Ramirez or Carlos Santana. Then throw in designated hitter Franmil Reyes, along with Domingo Santana, Cesar Hernandez, Oscar Mercado and Roberto Perez, and the offense is pretty imposing. The remainder of playing time may go to Tyler Naquin or Bradley Zimmer.
Another advantage is they play in the American League Central Division, which will include games against the Cubs, Cardinals, Pirates, Reds and Brewers in the National League Central. Missing from the schedule are the Yankees, Red Sox, Astros, Angels and Dodgers.
Once I get past the 60-game schedule, I will feel better about the season. Oh yeah, the winner of the truncated title will be the 2020 baseball champion. Don’t worry about asterisks.